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Featured Reviews

Villa Maria ‘Ngakirikiri’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

12 March,2018

In November 2016, Villa Maria launched their icon wine the ‘Ngakirikiri’ Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2013. The wine, long in the planning, came about after much thought and deliberation, deciding to represent the very best of the company’s holdings in the prestigious Gimblett Gravels district in Hawke’s Bay. The Bordeaux varieties were chosen, as the styles of these wines have the longest fine red wine legacy in this country, and are the most highly regarded in a global perspective. Villa Maria’s owner Sir George Fistonich stipulated the wine must be superior to anything else made, a feat that would be a challenge, as the Bordeaux-styled wines made by the company have proven to be outstanding, and that the wine must offer a difference in stylistic terms. With the inaugural 2013 wine, the winemaking team ostensibly achieved these goals, the wine being more elegant and ‘European’ in character for me, while representing the nature of the Gimblett Gravels. ‘Ngakiriri’ means gravels in Maori. (Click here to see my report of the release and my review of the wine.

I have now been sent the follow-up wine, the 2014 Villa Maria ‘Ngakirikiri’. It is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from one block in the ‘Vidal’ vineyard, different to the 2013 wine, which was a blend of several blocks. This parcel in 2014 was undoubtedly the very best wine in the cellar, and could not be improved by blending, according to chief winemaker Nick Picone. At present, the RRP of the wine has yet to be confirmed, as is the release date. My thoughts on the wine are here. I have rated it 20.0/20 as I have the 2013. But stylistically, this is more complete.


Villa Maria ‘Ngakirikiri’ ‘The Gravels’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Cabernet Sauvignon from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Full, impenetrable black-hued purple-red colour, very youthful in appearance. This has a very full and voluminous nose with beautifully concentrated and densely packed aromas of ripe, pure blackcurrant fruit with cassis liqueur and blackberry notes, black herbs and refined iron-earth and mineral elements and suggestions of black florals. This is remarkably balanced and harmonious. Medium-full bodied, the palate has incredibly vibrant, rich and succulent flavours of ripe blackcurrant fruit with cassis and blackberry notes, entwined with black herbs and iron-earth elements. The fruit is poised with underlying, very fine acidity, and supported by refined, powdery tannin structure. The richness and intensity is carried by a very fine line that leads to a long and sustained finish of finesse and style. This is a wonderfully concentrated, refined and vibrantly pure Cabernet Sauvignon with ripe blackcurrant, cassis and blackberry fruit with subtle iron-earth and mineral complexities on a gorgeously stylish palate with powdery tannins and acidity lending poise and grace. This is quite complete. Match with roasted lamb, beef and venison dishes over the next 10-15+ years. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from one block on the ‘Vidal’ vineyard, Pask clone on 3309 rootstock, vines planted in 2000, fermented to 13.8% alc., the wine aged 18 months in 39% new French oak barrels. 200 dozen made. Release date to be advised. 20.0/20 Mar 2018 RRP $150.00 TBC

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